Who Knew?
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“Thank God for my sense of humor at life’s little incidents. Laughing at oneself is the lubricant of life’s machinery.” I was nineteen years old and newly married. Okay, that’s another long story, but it was the seventies, and taffeta bridesmaid dresses, big hair and being poor college newlyweds “living on love” was considered cool.

My groom had jumped on the Joe Weider bodybuilding product band wagon and had entered a weight lifting competition.

One morning he asked me to run to the sports store and pick up an athletic support.

He followed up with, “You do know what that is right?”

I rolled my eyes back to yesterday. “Well of course I know.”

After all, I had seen those muscled gumba’s in his weight lifting magazines (really, I did pick them up to read the articles) wearing all sorts of Mr. Olympia Wannabe gear.

I figured this was my opportunity to be inducted into the Above-and-Beyond-the-Call-of-Dutiful Wife Hall of Fame one day, so I ventured off to the sports store to purchase one athletic support.

I walked in and stood at the cash waiting for the clerk. I’m one of those people who prefers to be waited on, instead of rifling through racks of articles when I’m out of my element, like in a sports store.

The hunk-and-a-half clerk behind the counter came to my aid. “Can I help you?”

“Yes, I need an athletic support for my husband, please.”

”Okay, what size?” he asked.

“Size? Yeah, I guess every guy is built different. Hmmmm, let’s see. He’s really big.”

At that remark, two customers, both male of course – because I wasn’t born under any lucky star – ambled over and stood around the counter.

Hunky Clerk responded with, “Uh huh.”

I spread my arms out – I mean really wide – to demonstrate his size. “He’s this big.”

At this point, two more men gathered around.

I heard them snicker.

That annoyed me, and even though I was at that time, and still am, rather shy and coy, I turned to the snickering group. Okay, maybe I’m not that shy. “Well, what’s so funny?” I asked. “My husband is into health and body building, and he’s really big and hard now. Maybe you all should try it.”

The snickers transformed into in-your-face gawfaws.

Cripes, what was it with these jock types? What the hell was so funny?

I could tell Hunky Clerk was biting the inside of his cheek like a chipmunk on steroids to stop himself from laughing.

Hunky Clerk coughed. “Ma’am, I don’t think you’re accurate in the size.”

Ma’am? I was nineteen, okay, almost twenty years old, and this guy called me ma’am?

I didn’t want to address that right now. I wanted to buy the friggin’ atheltic support and leave.

I rolled my eyes one more time and responded, not only to the clerk but to the gawking customers as well. “Look, I should know my own husband.”

I spread my arms wide again. “He’s about 46 inches. Just get me an athletic support that fits that size.”

Okay, so more than once I was asked to measure his biceps with a measuring tape, and more than once it didn’t measure up to 46 inches, but, hey I was in the initial stages of supportive wifehood. “Well, maybe not forty-six inches, more like forty-two. Get me something for a guy who is forty-two inches.”

One customer, whose haircut looked like a hen’s patooty in a windstorm, looked me straight in the eye and asked, "What planet does your husband come from?”

How utterly rude, I thought. I was getting more than pissed off now. I wanted out of this store badly, and I wasn’t in the mood to be the local jock’s entertainment of the day.

I gave Mr. Hen Hair my best PMS glare. “And what planet do you want me to kick your ass into?”

I then addressed the collective jock group. “He’s forty-two inches, give or take…maybe even wider. You have a problem with that? I thought women were jealous of each others’ bodies. With you guys every size on your body matters doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you something, we really don’t care that much for that kind of width. Personally, I was attracted to his nice eyes and forearms.”

They laughed even louder.

Little boys in long pants, that’s what these men were.

With the patience of a saint, I asked, "Do you guys get your ya-ya’s standing around a sports store, making fun of women shoppers? Let the clerk fish out this atheletic support thingy, and then you can all go back to comparing golf scores.” Geesh.

Hunky Clerk coughed again.

I would have offered him a cough drop had he maintained better crowd control and got me this stupid athletic support, so I could leave.

“Ma’am,” Hunky Clerk said. “I don’t think you know what you really want. . .”

Oh that did it. “Oh please, don’t try to impress me with your sports mumbo jumbo. Just get me the thing, and I don’t want to hear about brand names, etc. Get me the largest one you have, I’ll stretch it out, and be able to tell if it will fit. I’ve put my arms around my husband enough times.”

More laughter.

Hunky Clerk left the peanut gallery and returned with three packages.

“Small,” he announced, slapping one of the packages on the counter. “Medium.” He slapped this package next to the small one. “And large.” He lined this one next to the medium, stood back, folded his arms over his chest and asked, “Which one would you like?”


The atmosphere turned as quiet as an ant piddling on a cotton ball.

I picked up the Large sized one. “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so that’s what an athletic support is? Oh my.”

The night before, my soon-to-be-pulvarized husband had talked about buying a leather belt that went around his waist to protect his kidneys, and he talked about line definition. Wasn’t that an athletic support? Okay, I may not have been paying a whole lot of attention at that point because all I was concerned about was that the slick oil he used on his definitions not drip onto my newly washed floor. Besides, if I had to listen to one more protein powder drink that was good for us, wheat germ and the proper way to lift friggin’ anything, I was going to scream. Hey, I worked hard to earn my own heavy weight title: Choco-Cocoa-Queen.

Mr. Clerk, who, at closer inspection really wasn’t that hunky lifted a brow. “Now, do you see why we didn’t believe the size you ordered.”

I inspected the packages on the counter. “Hmmmm. I gather that cuppy part is not to cover one’s nose?”

“No, Ma’am.”

Again with the ma’am!

I held my head up high. “I don’t like the color or your selection. I think I’ll try another store.”

I headed for the front door, put my hands on my hips and addressed the group, who were now probably giving each other mental high-fives. “I shall have the last laugh. I’m Italian. I know people. Yeah, that’s right, those kind of people.” I know, I had just stereotyped my whole culture, but at that point a gal had to pull out all the ammunition she could muster.

“We don’t get mad, we get even. I know how to put a curse on you all that will last longer than your hairlines.”

I waved my hand up and down and all around. “May you endure a lifetime of running to the drug store in the middle of the night, trying to figure out if you need, maxi’s, scented, unscented, or light days.”

With that, I turned on my heels and sauntered out of the store. I may have even added an extra roll to my hip action. When I was sure I was out of their site range, I ran to my car with the intent of rendering my husband, forty-two inch chest up and gazing at the moon.

By the way, said husband is now my ex-husband, but not for this reason. And that, my friends, is an entirely different story.

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